QPR will be ready for their Premier League return, insists Paul Konchesky
PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 September 2015 | UPDATED: 12:52 24 September 2015
Paul Konchesky says QPR are now far better equipped to develop into a side capable of consolidating in the Premier League after a chaotic few years.
The Championship outfit have suffered relegation from the top flight twice in the last three seasons, but after offloading a number of high earners and adopting a change in philosophy this summer, they are now on a much more stable footing.
And Konchesky, who joined the club on a season-long loan from Leicester City last month, is now convinced the good times are just around the corner for Rangers.
Konchesky told the Times: “It’s not good for anyone to keep going up and down, it just unsettles everyone and more times than not means constant change. This club is heading in the right direction now though, and I’m sure when we get promoted the people in charge will know what is required of them to ensure we remain the Premier League and build on that.
“There’s a good feeling inside the club at the moment and we’re hopeful as a team of doing well and competing at the top. I wouldn’t say the Championship is a million miles away from the Premier League, so we’re not that far away in that respect.
“There’s a lot of good teams at this level, and the ones challenging at the top are at a similar level to the sides towards the bottom of the Premier League.”
The 34-year-old, who has been capped twice by England, believes the Rs must be aiming for at least a play-off spot this season.
“We all know what the aim is this season,” he added. “We just need to stick together and if we do that we’ll have a good chance of achieving our target.
“A club of this stature has got to be looking at finishing in the top six and whatever happens from there is a big bonus. It’s a tough league but I think we have more than enough about us as a squad to be a force at this level.”
QPR are the eighth club of Konchesky’s professional career, with the left-back jumping at the chance to join Rangers after accepting his days at the King Power Stadium were numbered.
“I spoke to Claudio Ranieri briefly when he first came to Leicester and, while he didn’t want me to leave, at the same time I accepted I wasn’t going to feature regularly like I did last season and be a part of his long-term plans at the club,” he explained.
Konchesky went on: “Once I knew QPR were interested I had a discussion with Les [Ferdinand] and Chris [Ramsey] and after that I wanted to get the deal done as quickly as possible.
“At my age I want to play as much football as I can; I’m not the type of guy who just wants to sit on the bench.
“It’s brought my enjoyment of the game back being here. I’ve loved every minute of it so far and I hope the team and I can progress together now.”
Next up for Rangers is a derby at Fulham on Friday night (kick off 7:45pm) – a side Konchesky knows all too well after a successful three-year spell at the Whites which resulted in him then securing a big move to Liverpool back in August 2010.
“It was one of the most enjoyable times in my career there,” he said. “The first season was hard and a bit up and down, but from when Roy Hodgson came in to the day he left it was really good times at the club.
“Everyone who was involved with the club then can look back on that two-and-a-half year period with fond memories. They’ve struggled over the last couple of seasons but hopefully they’re on the right path now with their new manager.
“It’ll be good to go back and see a few familiar faces. It’s a traditional ground and a great place to play football.”
Konchesky will be a free agent at the end of the campaign, but the experienced defender says his mind is solely focused on the here and now with QPR – although he does have one eye on going into coaching on a full-time basis when his playing career ends.
“I’ve started doing my coaching badges so I want to be involved in that aspect of the game when I do retire, but mainly in helping children progress and develop as players from an early age,” said Konchesky.
“My youngest lad is four and is football mad. Everywhere he goes he has a ball with him, so hopefully something may arise for him within football in the future.”
Konchesky is open to the possibility that he could extend his spell with QPR beyond May though, saying: “If I do well and the club do well I wouldn’t put it past me staying. It’s a good club to be playing for and they are heading in the right direction.”